Written by Huynh Tam Sang and Shaoyun Lin. After the controversial visit of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei in August, the relationship between Taiwan and China went downhill to a political deadlock. Dialogues and negotiations have been absent, and the possibility of breaking the ice in the stalemate is uncertain. Following the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which marked a milestone for Xi Jinping’s third term as China’s most powerful leader, the forthcoming trajectory of China-Taiwan relations should be read with a thorough assessment.
Written by Daniel Jia. Since Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took office as President of Taiwan in 2016, China is becoming more hostile than ever toward the self-ruled democratic island. As China sees its chance of “reunification” with Taiwan through mutual consent is diminishing, taking Taiwan by force becomes China’s only option. The matter of China’s invasion is evolving from the “if” in the past to the “when” today. And it could happen sooner than any rational calculation would have predicted.
Written by Chieh-chi Hsieh. Abe has widely been regarded as ‘the Prime Minister who is most supportive of Taiwan’. Not only had he been an advocate for legitimatising Taiwan’s status on the international ground on many occasions, but he also made the renowned statement during a video conference with the Taiwan Institute for National Policy Studies in 2021 that ‘if something happens to Taiwan, it means something happens to Japan’. Hence, although the news of Abe’s assassination sent shockwaves worldwide, the political implications of his untimely death on the future trajectory of Taiwan-Japan warrant further investigation.
Written by Ko-Hang Liao. On 8 July 2022, former Japanese Prime Minister (PM) Shinzō Abe (安倍晋三) was killed by an assassin’s homemade gun during his midspeech of campaign held in Nara to support a Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) candidate for upper house election two days later. As a result, this longest-serving Japanese PM (in office (2012-2020) after a brief first tenure (2006-2007), surpassed the record held by his great uncle Eisaku Satō (佐藤栄作) from 1964 to 1972) is recognised by the public as the most Taiwan-friendly premier, a transformational leader, and the founder of Indo-Pacific strategy. By introducing Abe’s distinct roles, this article looks at Taiwan-Japan relations during and after Abe’s administration, the impact he brought to Japan’s postwar pacifism by rebuilding Japan’s role in global power-politics, his legacy in the post-Abe era, and future relations between two countries.
Written by Mei-Fen Kuo. A recent exhibition mounted by Australia’s government office in Taiwan––“40 years, 40 stories”––highlights the importance of people-to-people ties linking Taiwan and Australia since the office opened in Taipei in 1981. These are timely stories. In an exhibition of its own, Beijing recently lobbed missiles over Taiwan’s people’s heads to show that its territorial claims to Taiwan will not be slighted. Australia does not challenge those claims, but it does maintain close relations with people in Taiwan through trade, education, technology, and cultural exchanges, which have flourished despite the lack of official recognition.
Written by Jasinder Singh Sodhi. Relations between India and Taiwan have improved significantly over the last two decades, even though the two nations do not have formal diplomatic ties. This is because India officially recognises China as part of its One-China Policy. In the political field, India and Taiwan are both grappling with the Chinese standoff in the Himalayas and Taiwan Strait, respectively. Therefore, reinforcing India-Taiwan relations can stand up to the expansionist plans of China since China is incapable of launching a two-front war on India and Taiwan simultaneously. Thus, the stronger relations India and Taiwan have, the better results it will have for mutual national interest and national security.
Written by Michael Reilly. It is almost a truism to say that the UK’s policy on Taiwan is dictated by, and subordinate to, its policy towards China. All too frequently, ‘support’ for Taiwan is little more than a reaction to Chinese behaviour or actions, and it is rarely based on the intrinsic merits of engaging with Taiwan for the benefits that doing so will bring. So, Taiwan ought to feel pleased by recent opinion polls, which confidently predict Liz Truss becoming the next British prime minister on 5th September. Among her backers within the Conservative party are some prominent ‘China hawks,’ notably former party leader Sir Iain Duncan-Smith and chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, Tom Tugendhat.
Written by Ian Inkster. The most likely manner in which the choice of Tory candidates might be of interest in Taiwan would be through foreign or economic policy. Unfortunately, though these two areas of government are meant to complement each other in normal times, our days are increasingly abnormal, thus the array of rhetoric, the focus on personalities, the exaggeration of anomalies, and the fixation on trust, veracity, and the lack thereof. And that is just in one party. Look around to your left and see the mirror image. Look across the Channel and see confusion and a reluctance to debate all major socio-economic problems. Look across the greater sea to find headless leadership. Not a charming prospect.
Written by Raian Hossain. This article looks into the reactions and concerns from Asian countries due to the complex triangular relationship of the US-China-Taiwan in the Taiwan Strait. While analysing the dynamics, it also unpacks whether this ongoing crisis would further shrink Taiwan’s space for engagements in the international space like trade, commerce, and people-to-people connectivity (not focused on diplomatic recognition). Therefore, this article takes the South Asian region as a case study to answer these two queries.
Written by Li-Chiang Yuan. To counteract the United States Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China warned the US that it was “playing with fire” through wolf warrior diplomacy and punishment of Taiwan. After Pelosi left Taiwan, China conducted the largest-ever military exercise against Taiwan since the 1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis. The People’s Liberation Army’s 4-day live fire exercise from 4th to 8th of August, 2022, has broken the record and set “three firsts”: 1. Missiles directly flying over Taiwan; 2. PLA’s crossing the median line of Taiwan Strait, and 3. Exercise areas encircle Taiwan, and PLA reaches Taiwan’s 12 territorial seas and airspace. Naturally, no one in Taiwan would welcome these “Firsts”.
Written by Brian Hioe. More generally, while several organisations in Taiwan are devoted to fact-checking and combating disinformation, these primarily focus on targeting disinformation that circulates within Taiwan, which aims to affect domestic politics. There is less focus by such organisations on disinformation that spreads about Taiwan in the English-language sphere. Taiwanese generally read news and international discourse about their country in Chinese rather than English, so they may not be aware of disinformation circulating globally about Taiwan. At the same time, the English language world may not be able to verify information circulating in Chinese due to lacking language ability. Perhaps more translingual fact-checking practices must be developed to cope with this issue. This may be the corollary to increased discussion to the fact that the voices of Taiwanese have been left out of international media reporting on the Pelosi visit and military drills that followed.
Written by Jacques deLisle. The August 2022 visit to Taiwan by United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been characterized as “reckless” and even risking war or, at least, a dangerous military incident between the US and China. On the other hand, Pelosi’s trip has been celebrated for standing up to Chinese bullying or even a political victory born of an unforced error by Xi Jinping’s overreaching. Such dire or triumphalist views risk overlooking the broader and deeper meanings of Pelosi’s brief sojourn in Taipei: It is more a symptom than a cause of a deeply troubled and increasingly troubling US-China relationship; its most significant consequences are likely more complex and indirect.